• October 20, 2020
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The balloon debate was structured in a round. Each person gave an opening case, after which everyone was able to pose two questions in a cross-examination to other debaters. Finally, a brief rebuttal was given before the vote and verdict.
The balloon debate was structured in a round. Each person gave an opening case, after which everyone was able to pose two questions in a cross-examination to other debaters. Finally, a brief rebuttal was given before the vote and verdict.

Never has a more atrocious group of individuals all been assembled into one small school room. After school on Thursday, April 10 Leesville’s Speech and Debate team assembled to participate in a balloon debate — the theme, evil dictators.

A balloon debate is an exercise where all the participants assume a role, in this case evil dictators, and make the case as to why they shouldn’t be thrown out. The leaders represented were some of the most horrendous leaders, engineers of genocides and silencers of dissent: Joseph Stalin (Soviet Union), Omar al-Bashir (Sudan), Pol Pot (Cambodia), Otto Von Bismarck (Germany), Slobodan Milošević (Serbia) and even Vladimir Putin (Russia).

While being an excellent exercise for the team to demonstrate their debate skills, for the case of humor, some artistic liberties were taken. The debate was a similar activity to the dinner parties many of the world history have in class.

Students came prepared with materials and were able to fact check as other members gave speeches, so it was a unique history lesson as well. Ms. Spransy, team adviser, ended up breaking a 4-4 tie (there were also two moderators who voted) between Pol Pot and Omar al-Bashir, with Pol Pot being thrown off into his untimely death.

Griffin Bobrowski, sophomore representing Omar al-Bashir, said, “It was a lot of fun and, I was still able to use the debate skills I learned. With all our tournaments over, I hope we continue to do fun activities like these throughout the rest of the year.”

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